An outtake from the “Flying V” documentary in which JUDAS PRIEST touring guitarist Andy Sneap talks about his early interest in the Flying V guitar can be seen below.
According to Sneap, he first became fascinated by the Flying V guitar after seeing ACCEPT guitarist Wolf Hoffmann holding a Flying V on the cover of U.K.’s Kerrang! magazine in late 1982. “I think they’d just done ‘Balls To The Wall’, and he was there with the Flying V,” he said. “And I was, like, ‘That’s so cool.'”
Elaborating on the Flying V’s appeal within the heavy metal community, Sneap said: “I think a V is rock; it’s established itself as a rock guitar now. You wouldn’t really see it in any other forms of music.
“I think it just sort of sets you aside a little bit,” he added. “I don’t know why. I just think it makes you strike a very positive pose on stage. You look like you’re in control with it on stage. You’re not sat in the back with a Flying V; you’re making a statement with it.”
The “Flying V” DVD was released last September as part of the popular “Inside Metal” series. “Flying V” was directed by Peter Hansen and produced by Hansen and Michael Denner, and features in-depth interviews with countless renowned metal guitarists who have helped make this make/model one of the most instantly identifiable instruments in all of rock.
“Flying V” chronicles the origin of the most unique guitar on earth and its incredible influence on the history of rock and roll and heavy metal. Hear from the rock stars themselves as they describe how, when, and why the Flying V forever changed their careers and altered their entire approach to guitar playing.
Journey inside the minds of the biggest icons of our era as they tell their riveting tales of discovery and passion for their beloved Flying Vs. Included are exclusive interviews with members of METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER, JUDAS PRIEST, MERCYFUL FATE, SCORPIONS, ACCEPT, MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP and more. This musical journey is one you will want to take over and over again as secrets of the Flying V guitar are revealed like never before.
Among the musicians appearing in the documentary are Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield, Kerry King, Michael Schenker, Michael Denner, Hank Shermann, Wolf Hoffmann, K.K. Downing, Mathias Jabs, Richie Faulkner, Andy Sneap, Brian Tatler, Andy La Rocque and Michael Amott.
And the rave reviews that this 67-minute documentary has accumulated are impressive, including renowned rock photographer Mark “Weiss Guy” Weiss saying: “Whenever I saw the Flying V on stage, I knew it was going to be a killer show. I love photographing the V. How could you not? It screams rock ‘n’ roll! It has a presence all to its own. If I were to rate the Flying V, in the words of the TAP, I would give it an eleven one louder!”
Additionally, Bob Nalbandian (director of the “Inside Metal” series) declared it as an “awesome doc on the Flying V! Very informative and intimate interviews with some of the greatest guitarists in rock and metal. An absolute must for the guitar enthusiast!”
In a 2018 interview, Hetfield stated about his love of Flying V guitars: “As most kids who love certain bands, you just wanna get the same guitar that guy is playing. I mean, really! I wanted a white Flying V forever — that was it. I mean, c’mon! The SCORPIONS, JUDAS PRIEST… It was a heavy metal guitar. You know, Michael Schenker — white V. It was my dream to have a white V. When I finally got a V, it was kind of weird to play. When you’re standing with it, sometimes it rolls off you. And you’ve seen pictures of THE KINKS with a Flying V, and he’s playing through the middle, holding it this way. It’s, like, ‘Wow! That’s weird.’ But actually, when you’re sitting down with it, you’ve got the V down there, it’s super easy. I loved the V shape once I got used to it.”
Hetfield‘s main guitar for recording and touring behind METALLICA‘s debut album, “Kill ‘Em All” was a white Flying V copy by Electra. James used this in the studio and live until the neck snapped and it was retired.
“I got my white V in 1980,” James told Guitar World. “It was the second guitar I ever owned, and I probably bought it for $200. I knew it was a copy, but we treated it as a real Gibson. I wanted a white one because Michael Schenker of UFO had one, so I needed one too. The neck snapped on it twice on tour. It’s been glued quite a few times. It’s got Seymour Duncan pickups in it, with a little more output for the crunch than the originals had. The only other thing that’s customized is the artwork. That was the first guitar I started scratching stuff into.”
SCORPIONS guitarist Rudolf Schenker told JAM Magazine about his trademark Gibson Flying V guitar: “I played a lot of guitars before I was running into the Flying V. [I] actually started with Framus, a German company, [before] going into Vox guitars. From Vox, I got [my] first Gibson guitar from my father. It’s a Trini Lopez [ES-]175, I think, but this one was, especially when we start playing with the big Marshall amplifiers, very difficult to play because of the feedback floor. Then I got, believe it or not, a Fender, which I didn’t like — it’s not my way — but then I saw one picture of Johnny Winter with the Flying V. I said to my brother [Michael], ‘This is my guitar. You think me, for a rhythm guitar player, it’s not too much?’ He said, ‘No.’ I [got] this guitar and started playing it with a fifty-watt Marshall [amplifier]. The sound was fantastic, so from this moment on, I played a Flying V. But there was one thing in between — my brother. He actually had a girlfriend and he took his Les Paul to his girlfriend’s house. Somehow he forgot the guitar in the house of the girlfriend, and the girlfriend went with her parents over the weekend somewhere. We had a big festival to do, and… my brother came to me and said, ‘Hey, I have no guitar. What can we do?’ In the end… [I said,] ‘Try my Flying V with the fifty-watt Marshall.’ He tried it and he said, ‘Yes, that’s working.’ After the concert, he came to me and said, ‘Rudolf, I can’t give you back the Flying V. The sound is so good.’ That’s the point when my brother went to UFO… I said to myself, ‘I want to have back the Flying V,’ because I tried Firebirds, I tried Explorers, all this stuff, and none made the sound… like the Flying V. I play [a] Flying V since then permanently.”